Image: People riding wheeled bobsled.
Todd Bissonette  /  AP
With the help of a professional driver and brakeman, visitors take a ride on the 1980 Olympic Bobsled track in Lake Placid, N.Y. Bobsled rides are available throughout the summer on special wheeled bobsleds.
updated 7/6/2006 12:30:09 PM ET 2006-07-06T16:30:09

Before skiers took their last lingering downhill runs on Adirondack and Catskill slopes earlier this spring, two alpine resorts in western New York had already opened their golf courses.

Bobsledding on wheels instead of ice has started up in Lake Placid, the famed site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. And Killington Resort in south-central Vermont, renowned as the largest ski resort in the East, is promoting golf getaways and mountain biking packages this summer.

Meanwhile, come autumn, many lifts in the Northeast will carry leaf-peepers, staying busy in the off-season.

Ski resorts in both New York and Vermont are increasingly finding ways to let visitors know that they are not just winter destinations. Here are some details.

New York
Greek Peak, which opened in Cortland in 1958, has begun building an indoor water park, hotel and conference center, planning to become a year-round resort 30 miles south of Syracuse.

In Lake Placid, the venues convert every year for summer bobsledding on wheels, a biathlon on foot, and biking. Visitors can watch ski jumpers descend the towering chutes and land on slick plastic, while the freestyle skiers jump, spin, twist and then splash in a pool. One indoor ice rink will have public skating on warm evenings.

The highway up Whiteface Mountain, 10 miles north of Lake Placid in the central Adirondacks, reopened to vehicles May 19. It snowed again two days later and the road had to be plowed. Its gondola will reopen June 23, along with the start of mountain biking. "We run it much slower than in wintertime. It's more of a sightseeing experience," said Sandy Caligiore, spokesman for the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

After they dry out, the cross-country ski trails at the Verizon Sports Complex open to mountain bikers; likewise the 2,464-foot vertical descent from Little Whiteface on the Excelsior Trail once the gondola resumes.

"It's two-and-a-half miles of pretty rugged terrain in the summer," Caligiore said. "There are rocks, ruts. There is a rutted path you can follow, but still that's pretty demanding on the body and the bike. "

In the Catskills, Hunter Mountain will run its lift on weekends starting in July for mountain bikers and has a trail network. Plattekill in Delaware County sells season passes.

"They're kind of a mountain biking hub down there," said Dirk Gouwens, Ski Areas of New York executive director. "They run buses up from New York City."

For golf, Holiday Valley Resort opened the front nine holes of its golf course in Ellicottville, 44 miles southeast of Buffalo. The back nine followed. It also has mountain biking and hiking, plus three pools that are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Peek 'n Peak Resort farther west at Findley Lake, Chautauqua County, opened its driving range, upper and lower courses to golfers in April.

"The PGA championship course is at the top of the ski area," said Gouwans. The other 18-hole course is at the bottom.

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Killington opens its ski trails to mountain bikers once the snow melts, giving them access to the slopes via its gondola. It also is promoting golf packages that include lodging at the Killington Grand Hotel. The cost of that package can be as much as half what it costs to stay at the resort and ski.

Next door at its Pico Peak property, Killington also offers lodging and activities such as runs down its alpine slide, a track that snakes down the edge of ski trails on which visitors can ride a wheeled sled.

Stowe Mountain Resort in northern Vermont is in the middle of a major expansion designed to capture more four-season business. Stowe already has a popular golf course, but it is building a second that will have dramatic views of Mount Mansfield, the tallest mountain in the state. A new hotel not far from the golf course is part of the expansion, and so are single-family homes and condominiums.

Hiking is a popular attraction in Stowe and trails, including the venerable Long Trail, traverse 4,393-foot Mount Mansfield. Stowe runs its gondola up the mountain through most of the summer. Like Killington, it also has an alpine slide.

Inns and bed-and-breakfasts in the village of Stowe are popular with visitors because of shopping opportunities. The Trapp Family Lodge, on a hillside overlooking the ski resort and village, also is a popular destination. It hosts "Concerts in the Meadow" music series in the summer.

Golf is also a popular attraction at Okemo Mountain Resort in southern Vermont, which boasts two nearby courses. Okemo offers lodging packages for its golfing guests and also directs visitors to a variety of well-known courses within a short drive.

Okemo has hotels, condos and townhouses on the mountain for visitors, but there also are inns and beds-and-breakfasts in the town of Ludlow. Rates are generally much lower in the summer, although like all lodging around the state, they jump sharply for the fall foliage season.

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Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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